CHARLEROI – Borough officials have decided to drop out of the Mid Mon Valley Council of Governments (COG).
Council voted unanimously Wednesday to rescind an ordinance it passed in 2018 to join COG. Council President Jerry Jericho said the borough decided to leave because the COG hasn’t made significant progress.
“There hasn’t been any communication,” said Jericho at council’s monthly meeting Wednesday. “No one from COG has been in touch. So, we made the decision to opt out for now.”
COG was formed in 2017 with the assistance of the Mon Valley Alliance to help municipalities share costs for services such as zoning and code enforcement, group purchasing and grant writing. COG members also meet to address common issues such as blight and economic development.
Ben Brown, CEO of the Mon Valley Alliance, said to his knowledge, Charleroi is the only charter member of the council to leave. He said he’d be reaching out to borough officials to talk to them about the decision.
Brown also said he will have an update about COG’s progress in the coming weeks.
Jericho said he is in favor of regionalizing services and noted that Charleroi always looks for opportunities to work with other municipalities.
“One way we could work together is by sharing costs for road services,” he said. “We are all in favor of that. For example, we have been sending our street sweeper to Speers when they need to clean their streets. We’ve also had a lot of success by regionalizing our police department.”
Added Jericho, “We might reconsider and rejoin COG in the future. But we would need to see more progress before we give that any consideration.”
In other business, the council:
n Approved a resolution for the disposition of municipal records from 2011
n Authorized the Mon Valley Opioid Coalition to host a national Night Out event in Charleroi on Aug. 15
n Pledged its support for a state bill that would require municipalities that rely on state police to pay a per capita tax for the service. Charleroi Regional police currently provide full-time coverage for the borough.
Gov. Tom Wolf said this week that residents who live in municipalities that fully rely on state police protection pay less in taxes than those who have local police forces, calling the differential “unfair.”
The amount municipalities would be asked to pay is dependent upon the number of residents, going from $8 per person for those areas with fewer than 2,000 residents up to $166 per person for those areas with more than 20,000 residents.
Residents in municipalities that rely on partial state police coverage would not be subject to the tax under the current proposal.